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Thread: If you had one knife....

  1. #1

    If you had one knife....

    ... to recommend to a cook that was interested in owning and/or learning to sharpen their own knives, what would it be? Basically that first step for someone who was looking to really maintain their knives - not just hit on the steel or give to the knife-guy every month.

    I thought it might be interesting to hear some thoughts on this.

    For me it'd be a Hiromoto AS. It's not a knife that I'm in love with but I really feel it's taught me a lot of good lessons.

    It's affordable in the sense that it's just slightly more than say a Shun or MAC. The handle, weight, and profile is a good transition moving from Western knives and techniques to Japanese ones. It's not reactive in the slightest but the steel behaves well on most stones and the edge retention is pretty good. A nice step up from most mid-range stainless.

    It's also fairly asymmetric which teaches you a good lesson when it comes to sharpening and maintaining (or if you're a lefty like me, changing) blade geometry. It thickens fairly abruptly behind the edge once you start to remove some steel and so you are forced to learn how to thin a knife to get it to perform how you like. I've found that the cladding is fairly soft so it's not a chore to remove. It might have just been my incompetence but compared to the other knives that I was learning to sharpen on, the profile gave me more issues over time as far as accordion cuts (the heel height/belly?) and so it's forced me to be more mindful about maintaining a solid profile.

    There are other more inexpensive options that I'd recommend to someone just trying to buy their first knife. But for someone who was really looking to get their feet wet when it came to owning and caring for nice knives, I think that would be my first pick.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDA_NC View Post
    .

    For me it'd be a Hiromoto AS. It's not a knife that I'm in love with but I really feel it's taught me a lot of good lessons.

    It's affordable in the sense that it's just slightly more than say a Shun or MAC. The handle, weight, and profile is a good transition moving from Western knives and techniques to Japanese ones. It's not reactive in the slightest but the steel behaves well on most stones and the edge retention is pretty good. A nice step up from most mid-range stainless.

    It's also fairly asymmetric which teaches you a good lesson when it comes to sharpening and maintaining (or if you're a lefty like me, changing) blade geometry. It thickens fairly abruptly behind the edge once you start to remove some steel and so you are forced to learn how to thin a knife to get it to perform how you like. I've found that the cladding is fairly soft so it's not a chore to remove. It might have just been my incompetence but compared to the other knives that I was learning to sharpen on, the profile gave me more issues over time as far as accordion cuts (the heel height/belly?) and so it's forced me to be more mindful about maintaining a solid profile.

    There are other more inexpensive options that I'd recommend to someone just trying to buy their first knife. But for someone who was really looking to get their feet wet when it came to owning and caring for nice knives, I think that would be my first pick.
    I would second this! I'm still fairly new to Japanese knives and a Hiro AS was my first purchase about 8 months ago. For all the reasons you outlined, I'd also recommend this as a great introductory knife (although my experience is limited).

    Interestingly, I've had almost identical experiences as you, especially with the accordion cuts. I posted on the forum a little while ago to see if other people knew why this was happening. The consensus was that it was due to it being slightly too tall at the heel (which left a high spot directly in front of the heel). I recall Dave Martell said he'd seen this quite a lot recently on Hiros. I ended up taking the heel too low though so now I've got the opposite problem! It's only minor so I'm hoping it will be corrected after a few more sharpening sessions.

  3. #3
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    I'll say it.

    JCK Carbonext gyuto.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Mangelwurzel View Post
    I would second this! I'm still fairly new to Japanese knives and a Hiro AS was my first purchase about 8 months ago. For all the reasons you outlined, I'd also recommend this as a great introductory knife (although my experience is limited).

    Interestingly, I've had almost identical experiences as you, especially with the accordion cuts. I posted on the forum a little while ago to see if other people knew why this was happening. The consensus was that it was due to it being slightly too tall at the heel (which left a high spot directly in front of the heel). I recall Dave Martell said he'd seen this quite a lot recently on Hiros. I ended up taking the heel too low though so now I've got the opposite problem! It's only minor so I'm hoping it will be corrected after a few more sharpening sessions.
    Good to see I'm not alone on that.

    It's a fun knife to play with. I know that I've seen Dave Martell say that they seem to be coming in a wide range of thickness these days. Mine was definitely on the thicker side when I first got it.

    I'm much happier with it now that I've put some time in on it.



    (240mm gyuto)

    There's still plenty of room for improvement but it's cutting really well these days. I own other lasers so I don't want it to be too thin. The food release is good but not great, continuing to work on improving that. Sadly the heel height is getting shorter than my liking but I think I can get another 6mo-1yr of hard use out if it. Especially since I'm not needlessly removing as much steel as before.

  5. #5
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    victorinox, they're going to F it up, why start with a $100+ knife...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by panda View Post
    victorinox, they're going to F it up, why start with a $100+ knife...
    Lol, yeah, I agree with that. But I'm talking the next step afterwards.

    I think many people will have experience with Victorinox before stepping foot in a kitchen where it's expected to own your own knives. I know I had been using them for a few years before that point.

    The first knife that I ever bought for work was a $15 Rachel Ray santoku from Bed Bath & Beyond... LOL. It was my first time doing fine dining (really nice restaurant too - no idea why they put up with me) and I was very anti-fancy knives. I used it for about a year before caving in and buying a MAC.



    Look at me now...

  7. #7
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    i cant endorse the hiro AS for noobs. it's carbon and requires too much work to get cutting well. so does every other knife really but it's easier to start with something that is thinner behind the edge.
    for learning on, i think global is the way to go. theyre easy to sharpen and retention is crap so they'll be forced to practice often.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    Suisin virgin carbon - so easy to sharpen.

    Misono dragon - really nice knife but more $$$.
    'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

  9. #9
    Really inexpensive is the

    Kockkniv 4261UG Svart from Mora.

    http://www.moraofsweden.se/food/chefs-knife-4261ug

    It can take a good edge and is a great starting knife for a project. And at 58HRC and 15 euro price is hard to beat.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzardborn View Post
    Really inexpensive is the

    Kockkniv 4261UG Svart from Mora.

    http://www.moraofsweden.se/food/chefs-knife-4261ug

    It can take a good edge and is a great starting knife for a project. And at 58HRC and 15 euro price is hard to beat.
    [QUOTE=Lizzardborn;307507]Really inexpensive is the

    Kockkniv 4261UG Svart from Mora.

    http://www.moraofsweden.se/food/chefs-knife-4261ug

    that knife looks just like a Victorinox

    what about a Fujiwara FKM? or something of the sort

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